We Are Error Ep. 29: Story v Gameplay: Dawn of [Error]


Jon Romo and Christopher Herman return to talk about one of the oldest debates in modern video games: What’s more important? Story or gameplay? Their answers may surprise you! They also talk about the Nintendo Switch’s operating system, Sony’s decision to drop PS Now support for the PS3 and PS Vita, Take-Two Interactive’s film licensing deal, and the laughable season pass for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

The moon from Majora’s Mask also stops by to stare uncomfortably at everyone. Enjoy!

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12 thoughts on “We Are Error Ep. 29: Story v Gameplay: Dawn of [Error]”

  1. I am in fact a critic. Guess that means I should start calling you Chris the Asshole. If you’re curious, you can read some of what I have written here.


    I don’t really disagree with your points even though I think you have to accept that game design and gameplay can influence how someone views the story. If I was having more fun during the shooting sections in Uncharted 1 & 2, I probably would not feel as confused about the cognitive dissonance of the heroes murdering thousands of people ostensibly to steal treasure. On the whole, I just always felt that the tone of those gameplay segments didn’t match everything else.

    Again, Spec Ops: The Line proves that gameplay and level design affects story. There’s a mission where you have to clear a crowd of people in your path, and the game never tells you that you can clear them just by shooting your gun up in the air. Many players just assume they have to kill these innoncent bystanders just like the insurgence they have been fighting up to this point. Why do you think the game thinks you are a horrible person? Spec Ops: The Line’s gameplay is not great by third person shooter standards, but it does fit with the narrative’s intent. Uncharted’s gameplay doesn’t always fit the narrative’s intent. Make it more fun and fast paced like the action set pieces. Create creative ways to get out of a scenario that don’t involve just murdering everyone in the room. THINK. Nathan Drake is mostly supposed to be good at that.

    I do agree with John that the characters matter more than gameplay, but isn’t it always a good thing when gameplay helps give you a sense of these characters? Like how in Sly 3, when Bentley is handicapped, he turns his wheelchair into a gadget machine to make him a more effective thief. Or how the weapons and gameplay in Ratchet & Clank match with the cartoonish send-up style of the story and characters.

    I’m not saying gameplay is more important than story. Quite the opposite. Who would like Telltale games if that were true? I just feel that gameplay should always match characterization and narrative intent. Unless Nathan Drake is a bloodthirsty psychopath who can’t think his way out of a fight without killing everyone in the room, maybe he isn’t our generation’s lovable rogue that everyone seems to think he is.

    Also, this occurred to me listening to you two talk: How many good dinosaur video games are there? I remember Dino Crisis, the first Turok (which hasn’t aged well), and a Jurassic Park: The Lost World tie in game (which also hasn’t aged well). Are there any others?

      1. I am aware. I like listening to you guys talk about video games. Hope to see more great stuff from you in the past.

        Also, are there any franchises that, even if they don’t get continued, you think should get an HD re-release since that is so popular now?

        Since you are such a fan of Resident Evil, I’m curious what you would think of a game with most of the same mechanics but with a different type of enemy and minor tweaks like using crafting to make new weapons. Just curious.

        1. Woah, more like birdy the savage ha.

          I will agree with bad gameplay taking away from the enjoyment of a story though. I just finished playing the first Mass Effect for our first “retro” review, and I have some strong thoughts about that very subject.

          But I love how you read our minds for future episodes! I’ll save my dinosaur answer for a later recording, but I will say ‘Gon’.

        2. Sorry for the late post, Birdy. Been a very busy week for me. I’m glad you enjoy the show.

          Sure, I wouldn’t mind seeing HD re-releases of Knights of the Old Republic, the Mass Effect Trilogy, GTA: Vice City, Wild Arms or Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. I’m not opposed to HD re-releases, but I want a steady flow of new content as well.

          I’m very much open to it as long as the game in question remains consistent when it comes to the previously established tone and world. Looking at Resident Evil 7, I appreciated the fact that the game returned to the franchise’s survival horror roots, but I also loved that the game introduced a first-person perspective. It struck the right balance of feeling familiar and new.

          Thank you for the questions!

      2. Also, did you ever play Star Ocean: Till the End of Time Chris? I know you hate PS2 games, but it was a really good JRPG with an interesting story about traveling through time and space and the different levels of development on different planets. Then again, it was a PS2 game so you will probably hate it until it gets its HD re-release on PS4 later this year.

        1. No, I never played Star Ocean.

          I dislike a number of games on that console, but I don’t hate a PS2 game just because it happens to be a PS2 game. For example, I adore Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and GTA: Vice City. Both of those titles happen to be PS2 games.

  2. Also this question is for John. You said the gameplay in Sly Cooper and Ratchet and Clank is good but you’re focused on the characters. Do you prefer the gameplay in Sly Cooper 1, which to me just felt like more like a Mario clone, or 2 & 3 where the gameplay reinforced characters and gave the games their own identity? They do have the same characters and story basically, but I would argue Sly 2 & 3 have aged significantly better than 1.

    1. I prefer the gameplay in the later entries. Introducing the ability to play as each character helps strengthen the story by reinforcing the idea that each member of the crew has their own strengths and weakness, and they balance each other out. It solidifies the team aspect of the crew.

      While some could argue that Murray or Bentley sections might not be as fun as Sly sections, I think working together to pull off a job makes the end results more satisfying.

    1. And Zatanna on Justice League and Captain Marvel on Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The woman gets around.

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